I see more and more SaaS companies adopting use of the Net Promoter Score (NPS) metric.

If you don’t know yet what I’m talking about, you’ll surely recognize this survey question:

Net Promoter Score_orig

How likely are you to recommend XYZ product/service/etc to a friend?

Followed by a simple 0 to 10 point scale ranging from Not Likely to Very Likely. NPS is considered one of the best ways to measure customer loyalty and the growth potential of your product.

Interpreting Net Promoter Score Results

Although there are 11 options along the sliding scale, we really only care about three segments:


Detractors = 0 to 6; detractors likely had a negative experience or association with your product, won’t purchase again, and can damage your reputation

Passives = 7 to 8; passives lie in the middle, and although they likely haven’t had a negative experience, they can be fickle and easily swayed to move to a competitor product

Promoters = 9 to 10; promoters of course are your most loyal customers and the ones most likely to be evangelists and fanboys

Once you have your individual scores you can calculate your overall, composite Net Promoter Score. Your actual NPS metric is a single value between -100 and +100, calculated by subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters. Passives are ignored.

NPS = % Promoters – % Detractors

Adding A Qualitative Component to NPS

Of course you should always compare qualitative metrics alongside quantitative results. The best way to capture qualitative feedback with a Net Promoter Score survey is to ask a single follow-up question about why the responder answered the way they did.

Asking a subjective question like, “Why did you choose the score you did?” lets you capture valuable voice of the customer data. This part of the survey should be optional.

Taking Action on NPS Results

On the composite level you should target to have at least a positive NPS score. Best practices say that a Net Promoter Score above +50 is excellent. If your score isn’t where you want it to be, one great place to start is by looking at the voice of the customer results you captured in your follow-up question.

You can take action on individual results as well. Here are three examples:

Detractors – Reach out to detractors with a personalized message, asking to learn more about their frustrations in detail. Not only will you learn more about their reasoning, but you’ll also build brand equity by showing the customer you care about improving their experience.

Passives – Treat passives as opportunities by digging into their usage data to see how they’re using your product. Often times you’ll find that passives are overlooking a key feature, and bringing this to their attention can be the tipping point to maximizing the value they get from your product.

Promoters – Capitalize on the excitement of your promoters by incentivizing them to spread your product to their network with referral promotions.